by Matt Paiss
In the pursuit of luxury and efficiency, Mercedes has developed two new models for 2012; the E300 Blue TEC Diesel Hybrid, and the E400 Hybrid. Unfortunately, the E300 Blue TEC diesel is for the European market only at this time.
With the introduction of the Mercedes E300 & E400 hybrids, Mercedes has presented one more twist to the game for first responders. The high-voltage battery pack is not where we have been accustomed to looking for it, such as the rear cargo area or under the rear seat. Mercedes has put the .8Kw Li-Ion battery pack in the engine compartment, operating at 120Vdc.
As you can see from the pictures, the battery is behind the front strut tower (normally covered). The familiar orange cables are also quite close to the right quarter panel. This may cause some concern for those who look to put a relief cut here for a dash lift maneuver, or to gain access to the engine compartment for extinguishment operations.
In addition to the high-voltage battery may be two 12v auxiliary batteries. One in the trunk to support cold-start demands, SRS, appliances, and another small battery to maintain consistent lighting voltage, and support infotainment appliances.
So, the obvious take-away here is to "Peek Before You Pry" or cut. As with any new building, or vehicle innovation, we are constantly challenged to stay on top of the technology that makes our lives more difficult in the workplace.
Matthew Paiss MATTHEW PAISS is a 15-year veteran of the San Jose (CA) Fire Department, where he serves as a captain. He was a contributor to the California State Fire Marshal's Office photovoltaic (PV) guidelines, as well as the International Fire Code and National Fire Protection Association 1 fire code sections on PV. He has delivered PV safety training to more than 2,000 firefighters nationwide. He has spoken in Europe on fire safety and PV design. He has associate degrees in solar energy technology and in fire science. He is a member of Underwriters Laboratories Standards Technical Panels 1703 and 1741. He wrote "Solar Electric Systems and Firefighter Safety," which appeared in the May 2009 issue of Fire Engineering.